##
* *Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding
Scale Model of The Sun & Earth - Section 2: Model of Sun & Earth

Making a model helps students to develop a conceptual understanding of a concept. Trying to understand something that is too big or too small can be difficult, so a model can help with that understanding.

Models are important because the world is so complex. Models can be valuable in predicting a system's behavior, like the behavioral relationship between the Sun and Earth. Models can help students make predictions. Models represent systems (solar system) under study and their interactions.

This model may seem simple, but I found that it really gives students a better understanding of our solar system and deepens their learning of the Sun and Earth. Using this model, students observed details about the Sun such as: I can see the swirling plasma, bright parts of the Sun, and different gases surrounding the Sun. When interacting with this model, one student wrote, "The scale model of the Earth and its distance are so small compared to the real size and that show us it's much bigger is real life!"

*Making A Model*

*Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Making A Model*

# Scale Model of The Sun & Earth

Lesson 5 of 12

## Objective: SWBAT use a model to explore the relative size of Sun and Earth as well as the distance between them.

**Before viewing the video:**

A Bell Ringer will get students thinking about the lesson. I ask students this question *"How far away is the moon?"* and ask them to Turn and Talk with their partner for one (1) minute. Then, using a basketball and a tennis ball (m*odels* **CCC#4** *can be used to represent systems and their interactions)* I ask a pair of students to stand up in front of the class to show the distance between these objects and explain their thinking. After a short discussion, I show the video.

**After viewing the video:**

I ask students *"What did you learn about the distance between the Earth and Moon or any other objects in our solar system?"* Students Turn and Talk with their partner for one (1) minute and then students share their response with the class. Some responses I am looking for include: it's a lot farther than I thought or it's hard to imagine but this model helps.

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#### Model of Sun & Earth

*30 min*

This lesson focuses on **MS-ESS1-3** (Earth & Space Science) which states that students will *analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system. *Students will work towards mastery of this standard as they manipulate a scale model of the Sun and Earth.

Some important skills in this lesson are **Science & Engineering Practices** 1,2,and 8. **SP#1** is the skill of *asking questions and defining problems*. I want students to ask questions as the make observations of a scale model of the Sun and Earth and to **(SP#8) ***communicate *that information to their lab partner. During the investigation, I ask students to **(SP#2)** use a *model* of the Sun and Earth to explore the size of the objects as well as the distance between them. Incorporating each of these practices into the lesson adds rigor, provides opportunity for skill development, and "STEM - ifyes" the experience.

At this point in the year, I want students to be more independent, so I provide a worksheet and ask them to complete steps 1 - 3 with their partner. After that process, I ask students *"What are some different types of models?"* Some responses I am looking for are: a model of a car or airplane or a diagram of the rock cycle. Then I show them a model of the Solar System to give them a visual representation. When I show students a model, they get a deeper understanding of the concept and vocabulary word.

Next, I encourage students to continue working on step 4 - 6 with their partner and provide the materials necessary for them to complete the investigation. As students are working, I circulate the classroom to check for understanding and clarify any misconceptions.

**Student Performing Investigation of Scale Model Earth & Sun**

* Teacher Tip:* Find a long hallway, out of the way, so that students can set up their model and complete their investigation.

*Student Talking About Distance of Earth to Sun*

* Note:* I want to give credit to the

**NASA**- National Aeronautics and Space Administration - website for this space resource. The website Sun-Earth Days is a free, reliable, easily accessible resource.

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#### Conclusion

*5 min*

*I learned that . . . because . . . .*

Writing a conclusion is a step that is very important for students to "come full circle." I have learned that you need to take students back to the investigation question so they can think about the process. *How will a model help me understand the distance between Sun and Earth?*

Take 1-2 minutes for students to process this question and write a conclusion. I give them a sentence starter to help with the writing process, for example: * I learned that . . .because. . . *Take 1 minute to share answers with the class so students can hear other student thoughts. For a conclusion, some students wrote:

*I learned that it takes the Sun 8 minutes to project light to Earth because they are super far apart from each other.*

*I learned that the model can help my understanding because it shows us that it is much father than we think.*

*I learned that the model helps me understand the distance because it gives me a realistic visualization in length between the Sun and Earth.*

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##### Similar Lessons

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Environment: Rural

- UNIT 1: Introduction to Science
- UNIT 2: Pond Study: Collecting Data in the Field
- UNIT 3: Pond Study: Preparing for the Science Fair
- UNIT 4: Pond Study: Plant & Animal Cells
- UNIT 5: Master Disaster
- UNIT 6: Earth, Sun, and Moon
- UNIT 7: Rocks & Minerals
- UNIT 8: Matter and Atoms
- UNIT 9: Earth's Resources

- LESSON 1: Phases Of The Moon
- LESSON 2: Return To The Moon
- LESSON 3: Vocabulary Strategies
- LESSON 4: How To Observe Jupiter
- LESSON 5: Scale Model of The Sun & Earth
- LESSON 6: How Can You Make A Sundial?
- LESSON 7: Heating & Cooling of Earth's Surface (Part 1/2)
- LESSON 8: Heating & Cooling Of Earth's Surface (Part 2/2)
- LESSON 9: Solar Panel Simulation
- LESSON 10: What Is Energy?
- LESSON 11: Solar Oven (Part 1/2)
- LESSON 12: Solar Oven (Part 2/2)